- A high-pitched purring or whistling sound produced during breathing out
- Use this guideline only if the child has never been treated for asthma
- Main cause in the first 2 years of life: bronchiolitis (peaks at 6-12 months). This is a viral infection (usually RSV) of the small airways (bronchioles).
- Main cause after age 2: may be the first attack of asthma.
Return to Day Care
- Your child can return to day care after the wheezing and fever are gone.
WHEN TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR
Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If
- Wheezing started suddenly after medicine, an allergic food or bee sting
- Severe difficulty breathing (struggling for each breath, making grunting noises with each breath, unable to speak or cry because of difficulty breathing)
- Your child passed out or has bluish lips
- Child recently choked on small object or food
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
- Wheezingbut none of the symptoms described above
HOME CARE ADVICE FOR MILD WHEEZING (until you talk with your doctor)
Warm Fluids for Coughing Spasms: For any bouts of severe coughing, offer warm apple juice or lemonade if over 4 months old. (Reason: These can relax the airway and loosen up sticky secretions). Do not give any cough medicine.
Suction for a blocked nose:
- If the nose is blocked up, your child will not be able to drink from a bottle or breast-feed.
- Most stuffy noses are blocked by dried or sticky mucus.
- Wash out the dried secretions with warm water or saline nose drops. Use 1 drop at a time in infants. This will loosen up the sticky mucus.
- Then use a suction bulb. Repeat nosedrops until open.
- Make saline nosedrops by adding ½ tsp of table salt to 1 cup (8 oz) of warm water.
Humidifier: If the air is dry in your home, run a humidifier.
Smaller Feedings: Encourage small, frequent feedings whenever your child has the energy to drink. (Reason: Child with wheezing doesn't have enough energy for long feedings).
Avoid Tobacco Smoke: Active or passive smoking makes coughs much worse.
Contagiousness: Your child can return to day care after the wheezing and fever are gone.
Call Your Doctor If:
- Breathing becomes difficult, tight or loud
- Wheezing becomes worse
Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 9/15/2011
Last Revised: 5/25/2011
Content Set: Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker
Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.